THIS ARTICLE WAS BASED ON DOCUMENTS THAT, ON INVESTIGATION, APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN FAKED. It has been labeled “FAKE” rather than simply removed from the blog. As a result, any readers who follow links to it will see the “FAKE” label rather than merely receiving an “Oops! That page can’t be found” error message.
— Colin Stewart, editor/publisher of this blog
Fred Odinga, a Kenyan LGBTI rights activist, suffered multiple injuries in an attack last year in Kakamega, a town in western Kenya. After he and other witnesses testified against three men charged with the attack, the three defendants were found guilty and each was sentenced to a year in prison.
The magistrate’s verdict in the case came to light in response to other Kenyan LGBT activists’ accusations that Odinga had never been attacked and had sought assistance under false pretenses under the pseudonym “Joe Odero.”
That pseudonym has been used in this blog for security purposes, and for that reason will continue to be used.
The attack on Odinga occurred on Jan. 18, 2016, after a weeks-long barrage of death threats from anonymous callers. The death threats began in response to Odinga’s report to Malindi police on Dec. 31, 2015, that Muhadh Ishmael, an intersex Kenyan teenager, had been kidnapped and mutilated by family members who were angered by his decision to associate with the local LGBTI community and live as a man. After Muhadh’s death and Odinga’s report on his interview with Muhadh, police arrested three family members on murder charges.
The trial of Odinga’s three attackers ended Nov. 7, 2016, with the guilty verdict from Principal Magistrate Alice C. Kioko. The three defendants were convicted of committing grievous bodily harm contrary to Section 234 of the Penal Code and each was sentenced to one year in prison, which they are serving at Kakamega Prison.
For more information, read the the police medical report on Odinga’s condition after the attack; the Kakamega Prison warrant forms for Duncan Omutachi, Richard Amencha and Rashid Omollo; an uploaded copy of the verdict, which apparently is missing a page or two, or the slightly edited excerpts from the verdict below:
Republic of Kenya
Kakamega Principal Magistrate Court
Criminal case No. 120 of 2016
Rashid Omollo (Respondents)
The three accused persons, Duncan Omutachi, Richard Amencha and Rashid Omollo (Respondents), The charge against them was Grievous bodily harm contrary to Section 234 of the Penal Code, Cap. 63 Laws of Kenya and the particulars averred were as follows:
“Duncan Omutachi, Richard Amencha and Rashid Omollo on the 8th day of January, 2016, at Ivakale Sub-Location in Shinyalu Sub-County of the Kakamega County unlawfully assaulted Fred Odinga, occasioning him grievous harm.” [Editor’s note: Other documents give the date as Jan. 18, 2016. Odinga says that police recorded the date incorrectly as Jan. 8, 2016, and the incorrect date was carried over into the verdict.]
Based on the state’s presentation, the three accused before the court on the 8th of January, 2016, within Kakamega Town by use of crude weapons which include a machete, a metal bar, and a G3 Gun, with excessive force caused grievous harm to one Fred Odinga. …
PW1 [Prosecution Witness 1] — Jackson Kimondo (First well-wisher to arrive at the scene); came and gave her evidence regards to suspect identification before this court.
PW2 — Marion Angwenyi (The second well-wisher); also gave evidence before this court fully supporting the complainant and similarly Kimondo Jackson heard noises, ran to the complainant’s location and found him bleeding from the head. He saw a machete stained with blood and, when many other people arrived, the accused ran away and boarded a waiting motorbike. … They both positively identified Richard Amencha and Rashid Omollo as amongst the perpetrators of the violence, and who ran on the awaiting motorbike.
PW3 — Philemon Chege; Police Constable; Stated he did visit the scene of the crime, upon notification from the Officer Commanding Police Station chief Inspector Wanyama; At the ground he gathered no exhibit, however upon his interaction with the complainant; he was able to get blood-stained white shirt from Fred Odinga, which he allegedly wore during the attack.
PW4 — Fred Odinga; During his presentation, he stated having continuously been receiving death threats from unknown callers, and made a decision to report the matter to the nearest police station. It is at this moment that the accused confronted and began beating him mercilessly and, in so doing, the accused used a machete to cut the complainant on the head. They also tried to strangle the complainant. The complainant screamed as a result of which the well-wishers who were from a local market came out for his help.
PW5 — Dr. Raphael Okeno; Medical Officer from Kakamega Hospital.
“I recall on 8th of January, 2016, I examined one Fred Odinga with a history of assault. There was a deep cut on the left temple region. An X-ray was done. There was a slight chest pain. Both upper and lower limbs had soft tissue injured. Approximate age of injury was 2 hours. Probable weapon was heavy and sharp. The degree of harm was grievous harm.”
The P3 form produced by the Clinical Officer in the relevant part read as follows:
“Deep cut on left temple region. 6 cm length. 1.5 cm depth. Stitched (18) stitches. Sent for skull X-ray in Kakamega County Hospital and later referred for further abdominal treatment and care at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. ” …
I had earlier, in this judgement, referred to the evidence of Mr. Kimondo. He rushed towards the direction of the scream at about 4 p.m. on the fateful day. He found the complainant bleeding on the head. He saw a machete stained with blood. He found the two of three accused who ran and boarded the awaiting motorbike. I am of the opinion that Kimondo’s evidence was independent evidence. Although he did not witness the actual attack, he arrived soon thereafter to find the accused and the complainant still at the scene. His observation of the scene and the events at the scene are fully in support of the evidence of the complainant.
Similarly, there is the evidence of the Medical Officer (PW3). According to this evidence, the injury was occasioned by a sharp, heavy weapon. It was a deep cut with the length and width as described in the P3 form. This, in our opinion, fortifies the evidence of Kimondo as to the weapon he found at the scene when he arrived.
We must take the evidence on record in its entirety. The evidence of the prosecution witnesses must be taken together with the evidence of the accused. I am satisfied that the entire evidence on record left no doubt, as found in the ruling, that the accused assaulted the complainant in the manner described by the complainant and supported by other witnesses. …
Due to the existing ample and credible evidence which proves the accuseds’ guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The offence was an evil one. A sharp heavy weapon was used against a defenseless man.
They inflicted a deep cut on his head, and acute abdominal injury. I am satisfied the prosecution has proved its case to the required degree beyond a reasonable doubt by overwhelming evidence on record, analyzed by both the court and the independent assessors. …
The three will serve one (1) year imprisonment.
Delivered, dated and signed at Kakamega Subordinate Courts, on the 7th day November 2016.
Alice C. Kioko
In the presence of :
Henry Y. Milia for the state
Mr. Owiti Yogo for the 3 accused (defendants)
Mr. Kennedy Kokello [Kennedy Ochieng-Okello] holding brief for Fred Odinga (complainer)
How to contribute to help the victim of the attack:
“Joe Odero” is currently supporting the four surviving members of his orphaned family and hoping to complete his university education. To help him, contribute on:
Related articles (the “Confronting Hatred” series):
- Death threats, then an ambush in Kenya
- How to react to an anti-LGBTI murder
- 1 Kenyan, 1 American working together
- Surviving a murderous assault
These articles provide the backdrop for the “Confronting Hatred” series:
- Intersex in Kenya: Held captive, beaten, hacked. Dead. (Dec. 23, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Will Kenyan intersex victim get a decent funeral at least? (Dec. 24, 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Intersex victim buried in Kenya; compassion from afar (Jan. 13, 2016, 76crimes.com)